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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Orange Zucchini Bread

Vegetable Crossing:

I know most of you are convinced I am on a mission to turn you all into vegetarians; not that there is anything wrong with vegetarianism! I am obviously an advocate for salads, veggie stir fry and sandwiches with little more than a slab of beautiful, icy cold sweet potato, tahini and some fresh greens. I admit, I am a self-proclaimed veg-aholic.

My brother and I both made forays into the world of 60-40 (veg to everything else) diets in college to save money. Of course, I still salivated over pot-roast with smashed potatoes or politely gorged on a platter of dragon rolls and salmon nigiri every once in a while. How could I not? The main reason I am posting so many veggie dishes is to make use of the summer produce available at such low prices! Recipes circulating around multi-purpose veggies like zucchini, peas, carrots, sweet corn and tomatoes just make sense when they are a fraction of their normal price. Point in case, last week my grocery bill was $15 (plus tax). I was cooking for two, my full-grown and carnivorous father and myself. Not surprisingly, during the week we had Ranch Turkey burgers, Veggie Lo Mein and Southwestern Omelets. Each meal relied largely on in-season veggies so buying the produce that was on sale that week saved a ton! Of course, that meant "Chocolate Covered Strawberries" were out for dessert. Sorry Dad, maybe next time.

This week I needed to use up the remaining zucchini and prep a good afternoon snack, so Cooking Light's "Zucchini and Orange Bread", sounded like the perfect thing. Plus, it has a scrumptious orange glaze, reminiscent of those sinful Pillsbury Orange Cinnamon rolls you make at midnight when you're sitting around with nothing better to do. Zucchini is especially useful this time of year because it can be the star of any number of easy dishes and eaten at almost every meal. Steamed or baked it is the perfect side for everything from a grilled chicken breast to a juicy, cheddar cheese and bacon burger. Slice it for lasagna, saute it with some pasta or lo mein, even fry it and serve it with horseradish mayonnaise on a crispy baguette. Try grating it with carrot and sweet onion for a new twist on a traditional salad. And, of course, enjoy it for breakfast in this scrumptious quick bread. At only a few dollars a pound zucchini is one of the seasons most economical vegetables.

This bread is incredibly dense and moist with a pungent, sweet orange flavor. In a way it resembles a pound cake but the flavor is much lighter and, well, there isn't a stick of butter in sight. For more texture add the 1/3 cup chopped walnuts. Just don't forget to pour the glaze on while the bread is still warm. Be sure to remove it from the pans first, otherwise the glaze will seep down into the pans and make the loaves especially difficult to remove. If you don't have a wire rack just yet go get one!

Note on Ingredients: I didn't have quite enough zucchini so I finished off the second cup with a grated carrot. Alternatively, skip the zucchini and use 2 cups of carrot and a quarter cup raisins for a nice change. The original recipe calls for egg substitute but since I didn't have any, and didn't want to alter the health benefits, I used 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce. Does that make this vegan? Hmmm... The loaves come out dense, moist and a shade of storybook gold. Perfect for snacking!

Makes 2 loaves (freezes beautifully sans glaze)

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt, scant
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup applesauce, or egg substitute
1/3 cup vegetable oil
zest of one orange
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/3 cup walnuts or raisins

1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoon orange juice
1/4 teaspoon zest

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease two loaf pans.
2. Wash and dry the zucchini. Using a box grater grate 2 cups worth and set aside.
3. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well with a whisk and make a well in the center of the mixture.
4. Wash and zest the orange.
5. In another cup mix the egg substitute (or applesauce), orange zest, juice, vanilla, oil and sugar until combined. Add to the flour mixture, folding gently until combined.
6. Fold in the zucchini (and walnuts or raisins if you are using them) and split the batter between the two greased loaf pans.
7. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and a tooth pick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.
8. Prepare the glaze: Mix the remaining orange juice and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in a small bowl. Add the remaining zest and stir until smooth and combined.
8. Cool the bread for 10 minutes in the pans. Then, run the blade of knife around the loaf to gently separate it from the sides of the pan. Invert the loaves and the bread should slide out. Place on a wire rack with a large pan or plate below it to finish cooling.
9. While the bread is still hot spoon half of the glaze onto the top of each loaf. It will almost immediately drip down the sides of the loaf. Cool completely before serving.


  1. Am I missing something? The recipe doesn't specify zucchini anywhere

  2. Did you get your question answered regarding how much zucchini?

  3. In the recipe instructions it says to grate 2 cups worth of zucchini.

    1. TRUE, but ALL ingredients NEED to be listed in the ingredient list, NOT JUST IN THE INSTRUCTIONS. Poorly written. Not sure I would trust this recipe on any level after reading comments, which is too bad because it looks yummy

    2. Anonymous, if your distrust stems from being too illiterate to interpret 2 cups of grated zucchini in a zucchini bread recipe, and that somehow lacks clarity and specificity for you, perhaps you should eat a bowl of cheerios and call it a day: Cheerios, milk bowl, spoon, mouth...

    3. Casual - no need to be insulting. I agree that all ingredients need to be listed in the "ingredients".

  4. I am curious about the applesauce/egg substitute option...seems to me they would do different things??

  5. I made this recipe and there are a few things wrong with it, first off the amount of liquid ingredients to dry is not correct. The recipe is either missing milk or there is too much flour.... not sure. This did not turn into a batter at all, I had to keep adding milk to make it the consistancy of batter. Also it makes one regular size loaf or two mini loaves not two regular loaves.

  6. This recipe is VERY poorly written, however, as a cook, I think I can adapt it to make it work. First of all, you DO need to list ALL ingredients in the ingredient list even if they are mentioned in the instructions. There was NO zucchini or carrot in the ingredient list. So I'm guessing the amount of liquids was wrong as well.

    1. If you figure it out, can you post it? I made it as e recipe states and it seems more like a cookie dough, and is not rising in the oven at all. Smells amazing tough, so I'd love a recipe that actually worked.

  7. Just made your recipe, it was delicious! Definitely a keeper! Followed your recipe exactly and had no problems. The batter is thicker than some recipes, but the bread is so moist and good...Thank you!

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  9. this recipe is identical to one on the www.myrecipes.com site. The reviews on that site say that the batter is really thick and describe the texture as similar to cornbread or scones, rather than what you would expect from a nut bread.

  10. Mine is in the oven now and I agree, it came together like a crumble not a batter. I just added the zucchini (don't own a box grater so I just ran a knife along the edge) and came out with a cup and a half of zucchini which helped. And added more orange juice. I have enough for two loafs. I AM expecting it to be more cornbready. Also kinda nervous about trying it lol orange zucchini sounds kindaaaa weird but who knows :)

    1. Ps.. While I was mixing and it wasn't coming together I was pretty close to adding a bit of milk as well.

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  12. I doubled each ingredient and followed the directions as written. It made 3 loaves. Oh my stars! This bread is incredibly delicious! Thank you!

  13. Fabulous recipe. I altered slightly to be diabetic friendly. Instead of oil I used light margarine, increased baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon, used half splenda and half xylitol for sugar, added 2 eggs to put protein and height into bread. For glaze I used 3/4 cup splenda, 1t. Blood orange zest, 3T. Cornstarch. Yummy, yummy, yummy. Plus less calories...

  14. Something is off with this recipe, the batter was too dry, I think there was too much flour. The bread turned out very dry and not tasty at all, not like the typical moist zucchini breads I've made in the past.

  15. I too thought the batter was too thick. However, the bread is moist and delicious! I would like it to rise a little higher. What would you have to add to make that happen? I used the applesauce since I am allergic to eggs. Awesome!

  16. You don't have a button to print just the recipe it self with picture

  17. Agree that the batter is very thick but with a little elbow work, it will stir to coat all evenly. Zucchini is a very moist vegetable and it adds to the moistness of the cake. Any more liquid would throw off the recipe, I believe. I also added in golden raisins. I loved the recipe and the bread, as with most baked breads of this type, was delicious by the next morning after cooling. I used it a gift and wished I had made more! Thank you Sarita!